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A home is often a family’s single largest asset, so making investments with upgrades and home improvements is almost always a good idea. However, knowing when and where to make those improvements isn’t necessarily a simple decision. Budget and space most often dictate the direction, but keeping function and your lifestyle needs in mind can help create a space that makes for an all-around smart investment.

Add technology in unexpected places — from heated floors to mirrors with embedded TV screens, options are plentiful. A bathroom outfitted with the latest technology can bring function and a whole new level of style and elegance to your home. Keep in mind not all smart devices integrate seamlessly, so do your research before buying to ensure a convenient connected setup.

Go green for the earth and savings — windows and window treatments are a way to make a big impact. Skylights are surprisingly affordable, especially when considering functionality and aesthetic benefits. Give your lighting and home value a boost with an Energy Star-qualified option such as Velux solar-powered fresh-air skylights — for air flow, reducing dependence on electrical lights and fans.

Finish the basement — adding footage to your home is most practical when gaining living space in the basement. A basement is the perfect location for expanded room to live and entertain. Keep function first. Adding a bathroom may be costly if the plumbing isn’t already in place but having ready access to those facilities pay off if you plan to spend lots of time downstairs.

Create outdoor living space for all year long — Even a small patio offers cozy gathering spots with the right furnishings and décor. For a larger yard, create destinations that make it comfy to congregate, such as a fire pit or grouping of chairs with overstuffed cushions.

Add cub appeal — Don’t overlook your home’s overall exterior appearance. Not only is It the first impression guests have of your home, it’s your own view every time you pull into the drive and it’s one that should make you proud.